Three kilometers from Goreme, on one of the roads Nevsehir to Avanos stands the village of Uçhisar.
Situated on a crest overlooking the entire Goreme region, this spot possesses an unequalled view of the tuff rock formations and surrounding cliffs. Originally the village was concealed from view and mainly carved into the rocks, but as a result of erosion, the rock-cut houses are now open to view at the foot of a highly – eroded rock face. A postern (secret passageway) leading from the old rock carved houses to the river bed 100m. Below has been discovered. This was originally used by the inhabitants of the village to draw water from the river in secret.
The rock face is eroded so that it resembles a ruined castle. A charming motel nestles at the foot of the rock. Brightly tinted slopes are punctuated with dovecots carved out of the rock. The droppings from these dovecots are annually collected for use. Below may be seen the Valley winding a way into the distance.
This small town lies about a kilometre off the road from Nevşehir to Kayseri and is set on a steep – faced, for-tress-like outcrop. Originally this area contained the main part of the village, in a 100km2, area big enough to hold Kızılçukur, Çavuşin, Elnazar and Uçhisar at once.
The village is now clustered at the foot of the fortress, the houses closely packed, box-like up the slope, with narrow alleys between. A postern links the fortress to the Christ citadel which stands a few hundred metres away in the centre of the Valley floor. This, at one time, contained some of the village dwellings.
Since no signs of habitation were visible from outside, this was used by local Christians as a sanctuary during the Arab invasions. There are two notable structures, both churches, in the village, the Harım church and the Sarıca church.
At the entrance to the village are a number of man-made Caves dug out of the tuff at various times, which are used to store locally produced potatoes, apples and such furits and oranges, and lemons from the Mediterranean region, as a kind of cold store.
A number of places of interest may be reached from Ortahisar, among them Fırkatan, Azarkaya, Halaşdere, Kızılçukur, the Balkan Churches, Pancarlı church and Tavşanlı church.
Two and a half kilometers from Goreme, on the slopes above the village of Çavuşin, is a rock face riddled by erosion that has forced the inhabitants of the old village houses on the slope to abandon them and resettle on the plain below. The ruins of the St. John the Baptist church, the oldest church in Göreme, are also to be found on the slopes below the rock face. The church, which dates to the 8th century, has been restored.
Above the road to Avanos just after leaving the village of Çavuşin stands the Çavuşin Church. The church, dated to the end of the 10th century, is today reached by a flight of iron steps. The red-painted frescos on what is now the facade were originally situated in the narthex. One enters the church directly through the narthex wall which erosion has opened up to reveal a triple apsed, rectangular, barrel-vaulted nave. The tunnel vault suggests that the church predates the cross- vaulted churches of Göreme.
The paintings of scenes from the New Testament are portrayed in a detail only surpassed by those of the Tokalı church. The colours and subject matter are some what primitive in execution. Scenes include the Annunciation, the Visitation, Trial by Water, Joseph’s dream, the Flight into Egypt, the Three magi, the Shepherds, the Murder of Zacharias, the Pursuit of Elizabeth, the Masacre of the Innocents, the Healing of the Blind, the Raising of Lazarus, the Entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Crucifixion, the Descent from the Cross, the Burial of Christ, Women at the Tomb, Christ on Mt Olives, the Ascension, the Transfiguration, and the Angel appearing to Joshua.
Cappdocia Hot Air Balloon
If you have not taken a hot air balloon flight earlier, do not miss the opportunity of Cappadocia hot air balloon activity because this is the best place in the world. There are several companies who offer the service but it is not inexpensive activity. Hot air balloons are flying early mornings at dawn from March to November, if the weather permits winter flights are also available. Average flight takes 1 hour and cost is around 150 to 200 Euros including breakfast and transport from hotel.
Flying with hot air balloon over the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia is the best way to see this unique land. It’s definitely a once in a life time experience. Once up in the air the view and the colors are fantastic. You will admire the magical fairy chimneys and valleys as well as spectacular landscape.
Hiking in Cappadocia
Cappadocia provides great hiking experience to travelers. There are many valleys attract visitors with volcanic formations. Cappadocia valleys have been formed by water and wind erosions. Each valley has different rock formations and colors due to mineral content of soil, like iron or copper. Red valley, green valley and white valley, they all have amazing shapes of rock formations, which surprise and marvel visitors.
Travelers can easily spend several days to explore Cappadocia’s valleys. All valleys were occupied by early Christians. They had carved churches, houses, amenities, stables and storages in these valleys. Cappadocia valleys are accessible, you can easily walk and explore the ancient rock churches and living quarters. Valleys around Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar, Cavusin and Ortahisar village are the most famous. While you are in Cappadocia take your time and explore these valleys. It does not require professional afford, as long as you are healthy enough to walk 4 to 5 kilometers in a few hours, don’t miss this activity.
White Valley or Baglidere is from Uchisar to Cavusin village.
Honey Valley or Ballidere is in Goreme village.
Rose Valley or Gulludere is between Goreme and Cavusin village.
Pigeon Valley or Guvercinlik is between Goreme and Uchisar village.
Swords Valley or Kiliclar Vadisi is near to Goreme open air museum.
Meskendir Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Red Valley or Kizil Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Love Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Horseback Riding in Cappadocia
Cappadocia refers to ‘’Land of Beautiful Horses’’ in ancient text. While you are in Cappadocia, you can join a horseback riding tour anytime during the day in any experience level. There are many reputable horse ranches, they provide good standard of services so travelers can really enjoy.
You can access remote and less known places of Cappadocia on horseback with experienced local guides. Therefore, this activity gives you an opportunity of unique experience so that not regular tourist groups are familiar with. Visiting valleys of Cappadocia on horseback and riding through volcanic formation are very unique experiences and unforgettable memories.
Pottery Workshop in Cappadocia
Avanos is potters town in Cappadocia. The ancient name of the town was Vanessa and it meant the city on water. The town is built on both sides of the Red River. Early people of the town were making ceramic items like plates, jars, amphora and vases from red clay since Bronze Age. Pottery decorated with geometric motifs over red or brown base has been given the title of Cappadocian pottery, as it originated primarily from the region of Avanos. Travelers from all over the world are visiting the town and joining pottery demonstration of local masters. Short courses and workshops are available to those who have extra time to learn the local handcraft.
Tasting Cappadocia Food
Turkish cuisine is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavors and tastes which appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The cuisine originated in central Asia, the first home of the Turks, and the evolved with the contributions of the inland and Mediterranean cultures with which Turks interacted after their arrival in Anatolia. It was refined and enriched over the centuries in the Palace of the Sultan, but its tendency for simplicity and natural tastes was preserved. In line with the Palace cuisine, regions of Anatolia developed their own gastronomic specialties.
Turkish Bath (Hamam)
Turkish bath is a traditional cleaning activity and still alive today in Turkish society. The idea of steam bath had passed from the Romans to Byzantines and travelers can see ancient Roman bath ruins in archeological sites. The Turkish people had steam baths practices in Central Asia, which they called Manchu. The combination of Asian tradition of Turks and the Roman bath culture had created today’s Turkish bath or Hamams. The Turkish bath has three section: the cool room, the tepidity room and the hottest room. Traditional Turkish baths have separate sections for man and women. The cleaning skin of a person by scrubbing with a coarse cloth, which is called a mitten, is the main feature of the experience as well having message with soap foam.
There are also some cultural aspects of Turkish bath as well as practical cleaning purpose. The bath or Hamam is also place for entertainments, ceremonies and oral tradition such as folk songs. Traditional Hamams have separate sections for men and women or they use the bath separate times. Women use bath during the day time and men use it in evenings or nights. Women sessions take longer because they bring food and entertain as a group around two hours.
Turkish Folk Dance
Turkey has a rich tradition of folk dancing with dances performed at all social occassions, from weddings and celebrations held for youn men leaving for military service to national and religious festivals or local festivities. Each region has its own dances which reflect the cultural life of that region. Some of the most famous dances are the Bar, originating from the province of Erzurum, the Halay in the East and Southeast, the Zeybek in the Aegean, the Horon in the Balck Sea and the Kasik Oyunu in and around Konya.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony
Mevleviye are known for their famous practice of whirling dances. At their dancing ceremonies, or Sema, a particular musical repertoire called ayin is played. This is based on four sections of both vocal and instrumental compositions using contrasting rhythmic cycles and is performed by at least one singer, a flute-player (neyzen), a kettledrummer and a cymbal player. The oldest musical compositions stem from the mid-sixteenth century combining Persian and Turkish musical traditions. The repertoire was continuously broadened, and the first notations were made from the early twentieth century onwards.Dancers would receive 1,001 days of reclusive training within the mevlevihane, a sort ofcloister, where they learnt about ethics, codes of behaviour and beliefs by living a practice of prayer, religious music, poetry and dance. After this training, they remained members of the order but went back to their work and families, combining spiritualism with civic life.